I totally agree with you here. LEGO never provided for expansion, the
RCX was clearly capable, heck all of the sensors you mentioned have been
made by someone for the RCX. A simple edge card expansion on the brick
with an optional expander would have been simple and fab. But, LEGO
seemed to release the Mindstorms, then ignored it. After all that effort
they so totally dropped the ball that it landed on their feet, broke all
their toes and sent them to the hospital...
I don't think that it was overpriced, I think that it was undersupported!
: I feel that that they never provided a way for people to expand it.
: You had three motor outputs and three sensor I/O's and that was it.
: The kid as a rank beginner, quickly outgrows it, and loses interest. What
: else can they do with it?
: After you build a few robots (that you can with what you got), what is
: there left to do? Thermometer? ah heck I don't have a temperature sensor.
: And I can't buy one either. Oooohhh I can build a third arm like thing, ah
: heck I need a third motor, bummer they want $79.00 for the accessory kit
: with a motor in it. My dad won't buy it for me right now, later you find out
: that accessory kit looks like it was discontinued no one has it in stock
: anymore. (Of course that could have been the classic Nintendo like scheme to
: drive up the prices with exclusivity and demand).
: Then a lot of the manual examples depict robots that require other
: accessory kits to complete, except you can't get the kits..
: The kids lose interest quickly.
: There is no path for the users as they advance to advance to.
: The GAP from the LEGO Mindstorms to the other robot kits is pretty big. You
: mainly have to learn electronic, soldering,
: and more advanced programming skills. Which isn't good for the kids.
: Legos only needed a way to bring out 16 I/O pins so we could access and
: program the RCX to use them.
: Then adding a few more sensors like Ultrasound, et cetera would have helped
: a lot too. As it is, you only have the bumper swtich, light sensor, and the
: rare temperature sensor. Things like the Sharp IR object sensor's would have
: been really good.
: Or maybe a break out Lego block to allow hooking up most any sensor to it.
: They already had the programming languages in the form of the graphical
: system, Mindscripts and NQC.
: They just never left a path for users to advance into.
: Kids lose interest fast. "Older kids" get frustrated.
: Kids needed examples and role models to motivate them. When they see a
: contest or a group doing neat things with the Mindstorms, they keep their
: interest and want to do more.
: The "First" groups were a good start, but they seem to be restricted thus
: locking out others just getting in. They really needed more Legos Robotics
: clubs and such. But I just don't see it happening.
:> happyhobit wrote:
:> > Let me ask again, what else is there? Where is the competition?
:> Define "competition." Exactly like Mindstorms=0. Some other robot
:> platform=lots. Seeing how Mindstorms sales have dropped off (they peaked
:> in 2001), this either means Mindstorms reached saturation, or other
:> offerings eventually took over the space Mindstorms once occupied. Or
:> I'm not being negative about Mindstorms, but an observer looking at what
:> might have been. I pointed out that $200 is a lot of money for many
:> people, regardless of what you get for it. You read other messages in
:> these threads were people complain Mindstorms was expensive. It was;
:> they didn't say it wasn't a good *value*. Two different concepts here.
:> You might wonder if LEGO could have provided a lower cost entry-level
:> product that could have been scaled up to the full RIS kit. They didn't
:> do it this way. Instead they offered all sorts of cheaper products that
:> were only marginally upgradable. Even after several iterations of the
:> RCX, even after seeing the phenomenal interest by more advanced users,
:> they didn't provide a simple port on the thing for expanding it. That
:> would have added maybe $2. Yet they might have even been able to charge
:> $20 more for the RIS, and provided an upgrade path to keep users going.
:> *IF* Mindstorms goes away, and assuming the toy market comes back to
:> life, we'll probably see a directly similar competitor to Mindstorms.
:> From whom I don't know. Until then, whoever comes out with the product
:> can study the market and determine how to do it better.
:> -- Gordon
:> Author: Constructing Robot Bases,
:> Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
* Dennis Clark firstname.lastname@example.org www.techtoystoday.com *
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